Olympics: to Boston, or not to Boston?


Every Monday morning, Section 215’s Akiem Bailum gives an in-depth and unfiltered look at all of the latest sports news in The Monday Morning Realist. You can follow Akiem on Twitter @AkiemBailum.

Feb 23, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; Russia president Vladimir Putin (center) looks out above the Olympic rings during the closing ceremony for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Fisht Olympic Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Realists, let’s shift gears for this morning’s edition.

The big sports that are on everyone’s minds with the NBA and NHL seasons concluding are Major League Baseball, the WNBA, Dustin Johnson giftwrapping a US Open victory for Jordan Spieth in that rock quarry of a golf course in suburban Seattle, and the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Oh, and the NBA Draft this coming Thursday.

But, there’s a brewing sports story that has not received much coverage outside of New England and that is the status of Boston’s Olympic bid for 2024.

Boston may not be a New York, a Los Angeles, a San Francisco, or a Chicago, but it has its perks as do all cities, of course. And it, unlike half of the aforementioned four mega-metropolises, actually had interest in bidding for the 2024 Summer Games.

Boston ended up being one of four cities—along with LA, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. that had an interest in being the United States representative for the Summer Games effort. Philadelphia briefly had interest before Mayor Nutter announced it was backing out.

Most people (myself included) felt that it was a two-horse race between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Many even around the world associate the nation’s capital only with politics and, Realists, if you have watched CNN as of late, that is more something to be ashamed of rather than proud of.

Plus, in terms of the size of nation’s capitals, D.C. is certainly nowhere near as big as London or Paris.

Boston was not only too small but it had the most opposition towards it.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles and San Francisco have bidded before and may have put up sexier bids than the DMV or the City of Beans (nothing against D.C. and Boston, but they do not seem to be cities that one thinks of when talking the Olympics).

LA has hosted twice and is looking virtually everywhere in Southern California except the KTLA-TV studios to build a new NFL stadium (that can also be a new Olympic stadium unless they just want to renovate the Memorial Coliseum which probably does need a makeover).

San Francisco’s Bay Area has Silicon Valley right there. Enough said.

Instead, the USOC chose Boston over LA, SF, and DC. It was a shocker.

Instead, ever since Colorado Springs was caught with Dropkick Murphys on their iPads, the uproar and the opposition to a Boston bid has only grown and become louder. Polls have regularly fluctuated between support for the Olympics and opposition to the Olympics.

In fact, the USOC even did not put a firm guarantee that Boston would be the final city they choose to throw into the IOC’s global five-ring circus. And Mayor Marty Walsh has supposedly said he will not sign any document that would put taxpayers on the hook for said five-ring circus.

That has been interpreted as Walsh will not sign a document where the city covers cost overruns (which is almost guaranteed for the Olympics).

So, with opposition growing, with doubts about the viability on the minds of everyone who is falling this Boston situation, and a possibility out there that the USOC may decide to tap Los Angeles anyway, why even bother with a Boston bid?

One word. Atlanta.

Realists, this Boston bid apparently has been spending a lot of time hanging out in the Peachtrees of Georgia. The bid has Atlanta 1996 written all over it.

Atlanta was bidding for the opportunity to host the Centennial Olympic Games. Only one problem—the list of cities that were bidding also included Athens, Greece. One would think that because these are the Centennial Olympics and Athens is where the Games first played that it would make sense to grant them the Centennial Games.

Instead, Atlanta won. Atlanta—a city that is not exactly New York, LA, Chicago, or San Francisco, hosted the world’s second largest sporting event.

In addition, another similarity between Atlanta 1996 and Boston 2024 is its heavy emphasis on universities. Atlanta was big on Georgia Tech, University of Georgia, Georgia State, and the Atlanta University Center (Clark, Spelman, and Morehouse).

Boston is using the same strategy. Its second main cluster in its bid is the “University Cluster” with its anchor university, of course, being Harvard, but now that is even in doubt.

So, the USOC has a dilemma—they could either still put all of their beans in the Boston basket, or they could look at that situation and realize that while most people in Boston probably want nothing to do with hosting the Games, LA may be more attractive to go up against European cities like Rome and Paris.

Or, the USOC could decide to throw the 2024 rings into the Harbor (Boston Tea Party) style and punt again until the 2026 Winter Games or the 2028 Summer Games.

Now this is a Monstah of a question that cannot be deflated.

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